Permits for shipping merchandise and how to get them

So, you are looking to expand your business and start importing in Saudi Arabia? Before we rush into it, there are certain permits for shipping merchandise in this country that you need to acquire before deciding to send the product. Moreover, once you have imported the goods in the country, packers and movers in Saudi Arabia can provide you with all the required storage and transport assistance.

How to get permits for shipping merchandise in Saudi Arabia

Everyone wishing to import goods in Saudi Arabia needs to apply for a license to the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI). If you want to import certain goods in the country you must follow these strict rules. Importing any product into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requires a SASO certificate. This certificate is also known as the Certificate of Conformity. This particular document is crucial when importing or exporting goods into or from Saudi Arabia. In order to secure the merchandise passing the customs make sure that the SASO certificate is ready.

metal ship containers on a dock
Obtaining permits before planning the shipping process can save a lot of time and trouble

When planning on shipping to Saudi Arabia there are three phases that you need to go through:

  1. One time enrolment method to acquire the import permit
  2. Documentation required for the importation
  3. Import custom clearance procedures

The importer of goods into Saudi Arabia is responsible for authenticating the certificate of origin of the product, the commercial invoice, as well as any other special documents required. To certify these documents they must be:

  1.  Notarized by a Notary Public and certified by a local exporting country Chamber of Commerce
  2. Certified by the exporting country-Saudi Arabian Business Council
  3. Legalized by the Saudi Embassy or any Saudi Consulate in the exporting country

Bear in mind that the Saudi Arabia customs have a prohibition for items which cannot be shipped into the country. Moreover, there is a lot of custom clearance paperwork people forget about. This can complicate the shipping process and the product can easily be detained or returned to the sender.

Guide for labelling the products

Labelling products is a must when it comes to importing goods. Especially if you are importing goods in countries that have strict import rules. Saudi Arabia has a long list of items that are forbidden.

a dockyard filled with cargo containers that have a permit for shipping merchandise
The country has a long list of forbidden goods that cannot be imported so it is important to carefully inspect the item you are shipping

That is why we need to make a list of things that you should look out for when shipping merchandise:

  • Producers name and address
  • Production and expiration dates in both English and Arabic
  • Product information has to be written in Arabic or both English and Arabic
  • The instruction manuals must contain the Arabic language
  • Products package must not contain any religious symbols
  • The package should not contain any Koran or Islamic sayings on it

Specific import information

As we mentioned above, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a lot of restriction and strict rules about what goes into the country. For instance, food and medical products will often require additional documentation which gives insight into the ingredients and consumer protection certificates. Any meat products should always specify slaughtering procedures in order to comply with the countries laws. Also, competent authorities must provide special approval dor certain products. This is especially important for agricultural seeds, chemical components, livestock animals, books, pharmaceutical products and others.

Restricted goods for import

It is not allowed to import certain products and ingredients. As the country has strict rules about what can enter and leave the country. Such products are:

  • Weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Narcotics
  • Pork
  • Pornographic content and material
  • Distillery equipment
  • Retreaded or used tires
  • Used clothing
  • Certain sculptures

The prohibition of certain items in this country is vast. Here we mentioned some of them. If getting permits for shipping merchandise is on your list then, by all means, inspect the product you are sending and make sure it does not contain any of the above-mentioned products or details. By looking at the items people usually ship to KSA you can gain more insight into what is allowed and what is forbidden.

Customs duties and taxes

In order to protect local food production, importing certain food in the country requires different tax rates. On the other hand, unlike tobacco which has a tax rate of 30%, imported goods such as steel, cement, furniture, organic and liquid detergents as well as some electrical items share the fixed tax rate of 20%.

a calculator for calculating taxes
The tax rates vary for different goods and calculating them beforehand can provide a good insight into the expenses

However, most of the basic consumer goods, such as sugar, rice, tea, wheat, livestock and others have no import tax rates and do not fall under any tax rates. Moreover, there are certain products that do not have fixed tax rates. Instead, they measure their tax via the weight of the product itself.

Why are permits for shipping merchandise important?

As we said above, there are a lot of strict rules that you need to follow when shipping to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both for customs regulations and product ingredients. By applying for permits and gathering all the documentation required both for the sender and the products you ensure that the product will arrive safely at the destination. If you have any concerns about the proper packaging of the items, packaging companies in Saudi Arabia can help you by providing the proper packing material for the merchandise.

Commercial invoice

To import goods into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia you will need a no prescribed form and five copies. These invoices must indicate the country of origin of the product, net and gross weight in the metric system, the value of consignments, a full description of the consignment, all marks and numbers. These invoices must be certified by an approved authority and legalised by the Saudi Embassy. If you wish to get permits for shipping merchandise to KSA you must think about every detail of the product you are sending and acquire the needed paperwork.

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